The Air Loom, A Human Influencing Machine

This exhibition runs from Wed, 4th Jan 2017 to Fri, 24th Feb 2017. See all dates

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

22nd Feb 2017  
(10am - 5pm)
23rd Feb 2017  
(10am - 5pm)
24th Feb 2017  
(10am - 5pm)  <– Last Day!

Cost: Free of Charge

Art installation by Rod Dickinson

This artwork is a materialisation of the paranoid delusion of James Tilly Matthews, a Bethlem patient of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Matthews believed that influencing machines were hidden close to the corridors of power and were being operated to devastating effect by a shady gang of French revolutionaries bent on plunging Europe into war. He was also convinced that one of these enormous machines had been placed in or near Bethlem Hospital with malign intent towards him.

Matthews’ careful drawing and precise description of the Air Loom attracted considerable interest in his case both during and after his lifetime. There is a fine modern biography of him by Mike Jay, a trustee of the Museum of the Mind, and a website devoted to Rod Dickinson’s artistic representation of Matthews’ worst fears at

The installation is currently on display in the newly refurbished Bethlem Boardroom located in the museum.

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


Bethlem Museum of the Mind,

Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, BR3 3BX

Google Map of Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Nearest tube and train stations to Bethlem Museum of the Mind